The Crimean Cup a la Marmora is a very old, oddly named libation that first appeared in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 tome, Bar-Tender’s Guide. As Mr. Thomas toured the world in the late 1800s making cocktails and entertaining the European elite, one could imagine how he would be impacted by and influenced the images and reports of the conflict in Crimea. One of the major players in this conflict was the dashing Italian general, Alfonso Ferrero, Cavaliere La Marmora. Jerry Thomas created this cocktail to honor this gentleman’s efforts in the war. While cocktails don’t change the world, Mr. Thomas’ contribution to history with this recipe does make us curious about a long forgotten Italian general and his most important campaign. At least, it did for us. If you’re curious for what we found out, check out the history lesson after the cocktail recipe. You know you wanna…
The original recipe for the Crimean Cup a la Marmora was created as a punch, so the recipe provided below is reduction of the quantity to serve two people. Or, one very thirsty person (usually one of us). With the combination of lemon, rums, and maraschino, this drink is faintly reminiscent of a light tropical punch. The addition of soda water and champagne give it a bit of sparkle and open up the other flavors. This is another drink in our project that was good, but will not be a “go to” cocktail for us.
Crimean Cup a la Marmora
2 slices lemon peel
1 teaspoon sugar (we used powdered)
1/2 oz dark Jamaican rum (we used Appleton Estates)
1 oz brandy
1/2 oz maraschino liqueur (we used Luxardo)
1/2 oz white Jamaican rum
2 oz orgeat syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
4 oz soda water
3 oz chilled champagne (we used Piper-Heidsieck)
Muddle the lemon peel with the sugar and dark rum in a cocktail shaker. Add all other ingredients, other than champagne, with ice and stir until well chilled. Pour into two large cocktail glasses and garnish with whatever fruit is available.
Crimea, Cocktails, & Conversation
As stated earlier, the Crimean Cup a la Marmora honors the Italian general, Alfonso Ferrero, Cavaliere La Marmora, and his exploits in the Crimean War (1853-1856). La Marmora entered the service of the Sardinian army in 1823 and by 1848 was a revered and respected major. On August 5, 1848 he rescued King Charles Albert of Sardinia from a mob in Milan and his heroic actions led to being promoted to general and named as the Minister of War for the Piedmont-Sardinia kingdom. In his new role, he lead the Sardinian armies in the Crimean War in which they joined France, England, and the remains of the Ottoman Empire against Russia. While war ravaged the people and region it which it is fought, until the Crimean War the folks back home were well insulated from most of the pain and suffering. This conflict however is the first to be documented as it happened with photographs and written reports being rapidly distributed around the world. Thus, war became an immediate reality for the homelands of all involved.